No liveblogs from me today until now – this was day 2 (Act III) of Shifting Thinking and I think I can unashamedly claim that it was AWESOME! (And we still have another hour and a half to go).
The day began for me at 6.55am with a phone call letting me know that one of my castmembers was unwell and hence I would have to play her role in the secret “surprise” opening to Act III – a short 15-minute play I’d written especially for the Shifting Thinking conference.
(The play, in case anyone is interested, is called “This is school: Or, Changing the Script”)
So picture this.
You are an audience member at the Shifting Thinking Conference. You arrive on time (as instructed) and file into the theatre. Onstage are four people, sitting on chairs, chatting quietly to one another, apparently oblivious to the incoming audience. You chat to the person next to you, until a message appears on the screen behind the stage: “Quiet please”
A hush comes over the crowd. And suddenly, a cellphone is ringing! A woman, in conversation on her phone, walks onstage. She is saying something about a dress rehearsal….. wait a minute! I think a play is about to unfold onstage!!
Changing the Script
Click here to watch a video of the play!
This was how we began Day 2. Our 15 minute play attempted to encapsulate, with humour, some of the main tensions, challenges, quandaries, and opportunities that have threaded through the entire ST Conference. “Changing the Script” was play within a play. The main character, a director, attempts to stage a nice, simple play about school. Her actors have all come to rehearsal on time, they have their scripts in hand, but little does the director know that at today’ rehearsal, nothing is going to go as she has planned it.
The two actors playing the “teachers”, for example, don’t even seem to have read the script, and immediately they begin to suggest doing things differently (despite the director’s pleas to simply act their parts as they are written in the script).
As for the actors playing the “students”, well one of them has already figure out he’s supposed to be a so-called digital native, and he’s more interested in listening to podcasts than listening to the director. Meanwhile the other student has abandoned all interest in this silly little play – she is far more concerned with what she sees as the impending doom of environmental catastrophe. And to top it all off, people who aren’t even IN the script keep interrupting the rehearsal asking to be written into the play!
The poor director. She doesn’t know who wrote the script, but she is desperate to execute it exactly as it is written. How can she cope with all these questions and these highly uncompliant actors!
If you were at the Shifting Thinking conference, you’ll have seen what happens…
So I’m wondering, did this play make sense to you? Did it make you think?Do you think we ought to write a sequel for the next ST conference? (heheh if we ever dare stage such an ambitious conference again)
Conference: November 2009